Turkey's deputy PM refutes Reuters' coverage of three-term rule
Thursday, February 20, 2014
LONDON - Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc refuted a report by Reuters news agency saying that Turkey`s ruling AK Party could change its three-term rules to allow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stand for a fourth term as prime minister in an "emergency" although such plans are not currently on the agenda, he said Thursday at Chatham House, a London-based think tank.
"I said the three-term rule is neither a commandment nor an article. The party would negotiate and change if it was needed," Arinc said. "About 80 lawmakers, including the prime minister and myself, will not be able to run in parliamentary elections next year. Nothing is wrong with that...I believe this principle is very useful and essential. We are determined to implement it. "
When asked about the AK Party`s links to "political Islam", he said the government and the party would reject "Islamist government" or "Islamist party" definitions.
He said the Turkish government adheres to the fundamental principles of the constitution adding, "We believe in Islam and live with Islam...But we have never wanted to pass religious rules in parliament and make them constitutional amendments."
Arinc also defended Turkey`s recently ratified Internet law that was criticized by the U.S. and EU, saying it will be a model implementation.
"The new internet law aims to protect the rights of individuals," he added.
Arinc also said the Internet law had nothing to do with the anti-corruption, bribery and money laundering operation launched on December 17 that resulted in the detentions and arrests of high-profile bureaucrats, the sons of three former cabinet ministers and businessmen, and last summer`s Gezi Park protests.
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